A Historical Perspective: The Wage Gap

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For several decades, most American women occupied a supportive, home oriented role within society, outside of the workplace. However, as the mid-twentieth century approached a gender role paradigm occurred. The sequence of the departure of men for war, the need to fill employment for a growing economy, a handful of critical legal cases, the Black Civil Rights movement seen and heard around the nation, all greatly influenced and demanded social change for human and women’s rights. This momentous period began a social movement known as feminism and introduced a coin phrase known in and outside of the workplace as the “wage-gap.” According to Merriam -Webster (2012), the wage gap is defined as “a statistical indicator often used as an index of the status of women’s earnings to men’s.” Often expressed as a percentage or divided into median annual earnings, the wage gap seeks to define and distinguish men and women’s salaries. While the wage gap was a term first introduced in the early 1940’s, the twenty-first century progress of women’s rights, specific to equal earnings between men and woman, is relevant today and remains greatly influenced by specific historical events. This paper will examine the cultural context of employment for white, middle-class, American women from the early 1920’s to present. Exploring the progression and integration of women into the workforce, detailing the forces and influences for change and examining critical court rulings, this paper will offer a perspective of the imeragey taken from the author. It is believed by the author that the feminist movement in many ways parallels the struggles faced by African Americans in the US during the same time period. The authors will offer ideas on where the pro... ... middle of paper ... ...izational support for women's advancement and turnover intentions: The mediating role of job and employer satisfaction. Women in Management Review, 21(8), 643-661. Ladson-Billings, G. (2009). Critical Race Theory in Education. The Routledge International Handbook of Critical Education, 110. Sandberg, S. (2013). Lean In. US Census Bureau (2012). Gender Pay Gap by State and Congressional District, Retrieved March 1, 2014 from the World Wide Web http://www.aauw.org/resource/gender-pay-gap-by-state-and-congressional-district/ Merriam-Webster.com. Retrieved February 28, 2013 from http://www.merriam- webster.com/dictionary/ Wood, G. (2008). Gender stereotypical attitudes: past, present and future influences on women's career advancement. Equal Opportunities International, 27(7), 613-628 http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/civil-rights-movement-overview

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